Atheists head to Memphis for national convention - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Atheists head to Memphis for national convention

The Atheist National Convention will take place over Easter weekend in Memphis. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) The Atheist National Convention will take place over Easter weekend in Memphis. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
A controversial atheist billboard had many residents upset around Christmastime. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) A controversial atheist billboard had many residents upset around Christmastime. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The National Atheist convention will be held at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis over Easter weekend.

Convention leaders say the Bluff City was chosen to show people that it's OK to be an atheist. Approximately 1,000 atheists are expected to arrive in the city this weekend.

"It bothers me in a way," said Memphian Fannie Reece. "But like I said, everybody got their own right to choose what they believe in."

"Memphis is actually a very diverse city," said David Silverman, president of American Atheists. "There's lots of Jews. There's a lot of Muslims here, and there are a lot of atheists."

Silverman says many atheists feel ostracized in Memphis.

"We have to empower them," Silverman explained. "We're here to show them that not only are they not alone, but they are significant and an important part of Memphis culture."

The group held a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Christian, Muslim, and atheist communities.

Silverman says that atheists don't try to push their message on people, but some members of the group have been very vocal in the past.

A few years ago, an atheist group protested the cross at the top of the water tower in Whiteville, Tennessee. Instead of removing the structure, the mayor had one arm cut off.

Many Memphians don't seem to mind that there is an atheist convention in the city.

"It's part of the Bill of Rights," said one resident. "That's why people came here."

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